Bulgaria - Air Force - Modernization
Transport helicopters Mi-17 would operate till the expiration of their technical resource. The training Armaments and equipment of Vasil Levski National Military University and of Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy are not included in the main Arms and Equipment list.
Existing infrastructure of the Air Force is located in 67 military areas, and their respective parts, 35 of which were basic and others were located in facilities providing the military activity (short and long range starting stations, communication facilities, power stations, pumping stations). At the end of 2014 the Air Force will operate 22 major military areas to meet its needs. The release of 11 military areas would be completed in 2011 (7 pcs.) and 2012 (4 pcs.). By those means, unnecessary Air Force infrastructure by the end of 2012 will be about 380 pcs. of various buildings and other service infrastructure.
In the Investment Plan-Program of the Ministry of Defence until 2020, the Ministry formulated realistic and operationally substantiated goals on the rearmament of the Air Force. Three of the priority projects included in the Plan concern the Air Force. These are: provision of flight capability of MIG-29 aircraft; maintaining the flight capability of Cougar and Panther helicopters; as well as the project for acquisition of a new type of main combat aircraft, and provision of its integrated logistic support.
The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria "Plan For The Development Of The Armed Forces Of The Republic Of Bulgaria 2020" stated that "The development of the Air Force capabilities calls for structural changes directed at improvement of the organizational effectiveness, optimization of the functional and administrative interface among the units, advancement of the training of cadets with diverse flight professional lines as well as training of officers, noncommissioned officers and privates of all branches of the Air Force (aviation, anti-aircraft missile troops, radio-technical troops, communications, information and navigation systems and logistics).
Of vital importance to the development of the Air Force is the establishment of background for the implementation of key modernization projects: acquisition of a new type multirole combat aircraft and supply of integrated logistic support and new three dimensions (3D) radars.
During the process of acquisition of a new type multirole fighter, the performance of combat duty will continue to be carried out with part of the active MiG-29 crews while at the same time the other part will be training on the new fighter which aims at avoiding the “vacuum” in Air Force capabilities. The acquisition of the new main multirole fighter will practically replace the three types of presently used aircraft – MiG-21, MiG-29 and SU-25 which will lead to downsizing of the Air Force personnel and will reduce the funds needed for the support of the whole combat aviation of the country while the operational capabilities will be considerably enhanced. This will also solve the problem with the frequency spectrum; operational and informational interoperability with NATO and EU member states Armed Forces will be achieved and capability shortfall will be overcome".
The Air Force consists of 19 MiG-29 aircraft, of which fifteen (3 training MiG-29UB and 12 MiG-29A) are executed for extension of the assigned resource (up to 40 years or 4000 hours). The extension of the resource was implemented during the period 2006-2008 by the company AO "RSK" MiG. The remaining 4 MiG-29A non-prolonged resources are stored and not airworthy. The appointed term of service for airplanes expires in stages between 2028 and 2030.
Although airplanes are operated in a technical condition, the designer has planned to carry out reconnaissance work every 1000 +100 hours on the plane. In addition, there are also many resource-limited aggregates with a different (smaller) resource than the aircraft. The main limiting factors are the RS-33 engine, the KSA-2 airframe box, the landing gears and cradles cylinders, the K-36DM catapult chairs, the emergency escape system, spare parts, blocks and aggregates to provide the flight activities with the MiG-29 (wheels, brake packages, power, converters, blocks from the radiolocation station and close system navigation unit in limit commands BOD-88 blocks the registration of flight data LBB-T , parachutes bar otokontrolniya device, tape system "screen" basic tires bow tires, brake parachutes, metallized tape LM-35 tape PCF-10, etc.).
The high cost of maintenance of the MiG-29, despite the availability of terrestrial technical equipment, infrastructure and assisted operation, is due to the extremely low total technical and interworking resource of engines, SSAs and other important aggregates due to old production technologies.
It should be noted that for the period 2016-2017, the Ministry of Defense invested more than BGN 99 million in the maintenance of MiG-29 in accordance with the investment project approved by Council of Ministers Decision No 232 / 01.04.2016. Expenditure "Ensuring the airworthiness of MiG-29 airplanes", without increasing the percentage of safe equipment that is still below 40%. It is noteworthy that part of the fair aircraft have a minimum residual resource of basic aggregates and can not be used to prepare the flight crew. In the course of 2017, the resources of the base and bow stands, catapult seating, etc., which were repaired in the period 2006-2008, gradually began to run, which will continue in 2018.
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